With miles of trails to be ridden and something for every skill set, it’s no surprise that the Santa Cruz Mountains are a sought after destination for mountain bikers. From low key trails with sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean, if you’re just learning to ride, to downhill singletrack in the redwoods filled with berms, rollers, and jumps, for the experienced rider, you’re sure to have a blast.
Flow Trail – Soquel Demonstration Forest
Rated #1 of trails overall on the Mountain Bike Project, the Flow Trail is a must. This newer trail in Soquel has 3.5 miles of downhill singletrack that’s filled with berms, whoops, and pumps that will leave you wanting to pedal back to the top for a second round. This trail is best for intermediate riders. Directions on how to get there can be found here.
Emma McCrary Trail – Pogonip
The perfect trail for beginners is the Emma McCrary Trail in Pogonip, located north of the Westside. Created by the Mountain Bikers of Santa Cruz, this rolling singletrack trail is filled with berms, jumps, and rollers. It starts at the end of Golf Course Drive and runs into the U-Con and Rincon trail, which makes it great if you’re more experienced and looking for a connector trail.
Ohlone Bluff Trail & Enchanted Loop – Wilder Ranch
Wilder Ranch has both oceanside bluff trails which are relatively flat and are ideal for those still getting comfortable or if you’ve got kids trailing behind you. Once you go under Highway 1 and start meandering up the hill, you can find downhill singletrack and loops for competent riders as well as sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean.
DeLaveaga Loop – DeLaveaga Park
Off of Branciforte in Santa Cruz tucked up on the hillside are trails in DeLaveaga Park. Parking can be found in the dirt lot alongside Branciforte by the fire road. Start up the fire road and you can choose to either drop down to or continue uphill on the fire road. Once you reach the top, you can take a singletrack trail down. With jumps and numerous rollers, it’s easy to pick up speed on the way down but be sure to keep an eye out for hikers with their pups.